Hot-streaking Wildcats Play Host to Georgia in SEC Showdown
Feb. 10, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The hot-streaking University of Kentucky women's basketball team looks to keep its winning ways alive and avenge a 61-60 loss to then-No. 8 Georgia earlier this season when the No. 17/16 Wildcats play host to the 19 th -ranked Lady Bulldogs Thursday, Feb. 11 in Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on FSN (Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southwest and Sun Sports). It also will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price and online at UKathletics.com.
Single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children 6-18. Ages five and under are admitted free. UK students, faculty and staff also are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For further ticket information, log on to UKathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).
Women's basketball parking is available in the following surface lots and parking structures:
Kentucky (20-3 overall, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) has won 15 consecutive home games, a school-record seven straight league games, and currently ranks second in the SEC standings with an 8-2 mark. It's the best 10-game SEC record for the Wildcats in school history. The Lady Bulldogs (19-5, 6-5 SEC) travel to Lexington looking to get back on the winning track after dropping four of their last five games.
"This is an extremely difficult game for us," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "Georgia is a very powerful team and is good at rebounding. They beat us up in rebounding the first time we played, outrebounding us by a large margin. It is a tough task ahead. They are a very good basketball team that is extremely talented and at this time of year everybody is hungry for wins. You have to play hard and well and we will have to do both to beat Georgia tomorrow."
Paving the way for UK's success this season is SEC Player of the Year candidate Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and SEC Freshman of the Year nominee A'dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.). The duo averages 17.8 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. Junior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) also averages double-digits with 10.1 points per game while dishing out a team-high 4.0 assists per game. Dunlap also leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 8.9 caroms per game.
Freshman Jasmine James and senior Ashley Houts lead Georgia in scoring with 11.8 and 11.6 points per game, respectively. Junior Porsha Phillips is the team's leading rebounder with 7.7 boards per game.
Thursday will be a matchup between two of the nation's most productive offensive and defensive teams in the nation. The Wildcats currently lead the SEC and rank 15th nationally in scoring offense at 77.3 points per game while Georgia ranks 12 th nationally and second in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 53.6 points per game. UGA also ranks ninth nationally and No. 2 in the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 34.4 percent shooting.
UK's pressure defense also has been its key cog this season as the Wildcats are holding opponents to 56.9 points per game (fourth in the SEC) and are allowing teams to shoot just .363 from the field and .288 from three-point range. Only one team (USC) has scored over 67 points against UK this season.
Thursday marks the 44th meeting between Georgia and Kentucky, the second matchup this season. UK fell in overtime to the Lady Bulldogs in Athens earlier this season, 61-60.
UGA leads the all-time series 32-11, including an 11-7 advantage in Lexington. The Wildcats are looking to chart their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in Lexington since 2005 and their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in Memorial Coliseum since 1999. UK's last win over UGA came in Rupp Arena on Jan. 13, 71-63. Before that upset, the Cats' last home win over Georgia was in 1999, an 80-76 decision on Feb. 7 in Memorial.
"We have had great, great attendance this year and our fans always give us energy," Mitchell said. "We would love to have a few more in there tomorrow night and really pack Memorial. That would be huge for us."
Head Coach Matthew Mitchell Pregame Press Conference
Opening Statement ...
"This is an extremely difficult game for us. Georgia is a very powerful team and is good at rebounding. They beat us up in rebounding the first time we played, outrebounding us by a large margin. It is a tough task ahead. They are a very good basketball team that is extremely talented and at this time of year everybody is hungry for wins. You have to play hard and well and we will have to do both to beat Georgia tomorrow."
On if he feels with the SEC race as close as it is that every win is a must win right now ...
"The thing that we have done well all year is that we have not paid a lot of attention about where we are relative to other teams. I think that it would be a big mistake to do that now. We are one bad week or two bad weeks away from not being very good at all. We desperately need to win this one on Thursday and desperately need to win one on Sunday. That is just how it is right now. As far as the conference race goes, it is getting down to the wire. There are three weeks left in the regular season and six games left and a lot can happen. I know that I certainly feel like everything is a must win at this point in time."
On if it helps to play Georgia at home this time around ...
"We will look for an edge anywhere we can get it and being back home definitely help. The fans can help that even more if we can get a really big turnout. We have had great, great attendance this year and they always give us energy. We would love to have a few more in there tomorrow night and really pack Memorial. That would be huge for us."
On if he is worried about his freshmen hitting a wall late in the season ...
"We are very fortunate this year that our two freshmen have been able to get themselves into fantastic shape. A'dia Mathies is not your typical freshman. She is a very talented player with a lot of ability and she hasn't looked close to hitting a wall. She looks like she is getting better with each game that progresses. Brittany Henderson I think is getting better. That is a tribute to both the players being in tip-top shape."
On UK being the hot team now and Georgia was the hot team in early Janurary ...
"It could cut both ways and that is why it is so important for us to stay focused and not get caught up in that dynamic. We have won several straight and they have struggled a little bit. But those trends don't seem to really work if that is what you are playing off of. What I mean is, if we are not totally invested and committed to the things that will help us beat Georgia tomorrow night then we will lose. Whatever we have done up to this point won't matter a whole lot tomorrow night. I wished things worked out that way. I wish that us being hot guaranteed us an advantage tomorrow night. Over my experience that will not ring true. Their players are very good and match up well with our players. It will be a very difficult game for us to win and we will have to play well to get the job done."
On Ashley Houts' play for UGA ...
"I think that Ashley Houts is one of the toughest competitors that I have seen in my 10 or so years of being in the league or observing it from a coach's perspective. She has done so many things to help her team win. She had a monster game against us the first time and that is a concern. She will have a lot of confidence coming into this game because she played so well against us last time. She is a player that I have a lot of respect for. I think that anytime you have a player play a lot of minutes you think that you have an advantage but she is one player that we have sort of stopped worrying about how many minutes she will play and start worrying about how to limit her anyway we can. She just doesn't seem to be effected like a normal player would be."